Heart rate change as evidence for vaginally elicited orgasm and orgasm intensity

Heli Alzate, Bernardo Useche, Magdalena Villegas

Research output: Articles / NotesScientific Articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The purposes of this study were a) to further replicate previous findings on vaginal eroticism, using heart rate change as corroborative evidence for the subjective perception of sexual arousal and orgasm; and b) to investigate the correlation between heart rate change and subjective intensity of female orgasm. Heart rate measurements were obtained from ECG tracings. Eleven coitally experienced volunteers were examined by digital stimulation of their vaginal walls; 90.9% of the women had vaginal erotic sensitivity and 72.7% of them reported reaching orgasm which was corroborated by statistically significant increases in heart rate relative to baseline levels. A digital stimulation of the clitoris was also conducted on the research participants, and 72.7% of them reached orgasm. The participants experienced a total of 26 orgasmic episodes, 17 vaginally and 9 clitorally elicited. A moderate correlation between increases in heart rate and subjectively graded orgasm intensities was found. These findings support previous studies indicating that most, if not all, women possess vaginal zones whose strong tactile stimulation elicits orgasms. They also lend some support to the existence of a correlation between the subjective grading of orgasm intensity and the objective measurement of heart rate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-357
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Sex Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1989
Externally publishedYes


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